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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Grass photo by Doris High
Photo by Doris High

"The Value Of Two"

Message summary: Let us value and practice these three principles found in our Bible text.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up" (Ecclesiastes 4:9,10).

Red suspender choir directorFor many years I (Stephen, not Brooksyne) have customarily worn suspenders. In my case they're not so much a fashion accent but instead serve a practical purpose; holding my britches up!

In the course of our chaplain visitation an employee asked me, "Why were the suspenders arrested?" Initially I couldn't tell what in the world she might mean. I shook my head, "I don't know. Why?" She looked up with a smile and answered, "For holding up the pants." Well, that sure brought on a good round of laughter!

Ken is an intern choir director at our church and he has a distinctive that really stands out. He wears bright red suspenders! He is in his mid life but moved down from Maine to get additional music training. He is originally from my home state of Missouri. I (Stephen) especially commend his good taste in gallusses.

One side suspendersMost of the time you see suspenders attached to the pants on both sides, at least in the front, but a certain group of Old Order Amish in the Big Valley of central Pennsylvania are characterized by wearing them on only one side, which sure doesn't seem very comfortable to me, let alone functional. I would sure like to know the rationale behind this but have never been able to find out.

An old Mennonite fellow humorously asserts that suspenders are a part of being Biblically dressed based on our daily text. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up" (Ecclesiastes 4:9,10).

In my case I wear suspenders and a belt so I indeed report that two are better than one and if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. One of my most stressful times is going through airport security and having to take both my belt and suspenders off.*

Now to be clear I don't think our daily Bible verse has anything to do with suspenders since all the Bible time pictures I've ever seen show people,
including men, wearing robes but it has a vitally helpful truth regarding the value of two.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor". In life there are some jobs we do solo but what a blessing to work with someone else. It increases the return on our labor. We can apply this principle to many areas of life including marriage, the family, work and church.

"If either of them falls down, one can help the other up." We have all probably experienced the blessing of a hand reached out to help us up when we fall down. But I don't take this in just a physical sense but in a spiritual/emotional sense as well. I have often been the recipient of a helpful outstretched hand during a time of trouble.

"But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up" Indeed this is a sad state. Somehow I picture the old cheesy 80's commercial for Life Call of the lady who had fallen and cries out "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up".

Let us value and practice these three principles found in our Bible text:
  1. Value other people in your life. We are better together.
  2. Be ready to help another who has fallen and to receive the blessing of an outstretched hand when you fall.
  3. Be especially sensitive to those who have fallen and have no one to help them up.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, how good it is to have another come alongside us, to encourage us, listen and pray for that which concerns us, lend a hand when we're in need and occasionally bring friendly reproof when it's in our best interest. There are many who walk alone and have no one looking out for them. When we see such a person help us not to look the other way to avoid him or her. Instead speak to our hearts about how we can be Your hand extended to that one who walks alone, who has fallen and can't get up. Show us how to reach out our hand, extend our heart, and in a practical way show them that we care and want to be a blessing in the name of Christ. Amen.

* Brooksyne's note: Twelve years ago we went with Ester to Philadelphia to get her citizenship. We were being searched upon entering the federal building and had to do the usual emptying of pockets, removing watches, and laying items on the conveyer belt for inspection. When Stephen went through the security magnetic machine it beeped so he was sent through again, this time with his suspenders removed. (Stephen had recently taken off about ten pounds  so his suspenders were pretty important for keeping him put together as he walked about.) He walked through again and passed the inspection.  He quickly picked up his suspenders and tried to put them on again, but due to the orders being incessantly shouted by the guards, "Stay to the right, Keep the line moving, Sir, move over here, don't hold up the line" he got quite discombobulated as he was being pushed through and he was unable to get them back on. In the maddening process his pants were starting to fall down. He had one hand on his suspenders and the other holding up his britches (Oklahoma/Missouri term) and was having big troubles. I caught sight of him and I burst into uncontrollable laughter. His face was beet red as he was trying to work through his dilemma. I explained to the security office what was happening and he said with a dry smile, "I sure hope he doesn't make me have to do my job" (referring to arresting him for "indecent exposure.") Well, he eventually was able to get out of the line and get himself put back together.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Better Together"  Video   Gaither Vocal Band

"Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" Video

For those of you unfamiliar with my sense of humor of course I know you can't determine what people wore in the Bible times through Bible pictures!

Special Thanksgiving Resources

We offer these resources to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 28).

Thorns"Thankful For The Thorns": A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. (Note: You will need a good reader who should be given the story ahead of time to review so that it's read with expression and clarity.) For many of us the Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Here's an idea for sharing together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns"
(printable webpage).

"A Thanksgiving family exercise" (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service many years ago. (blog post) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading:
A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our long-time friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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